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NISBET, Thomas (DNA Linked)
GOVENLOCK, Helen (DNA Linked)
(About 1780-)
SANDILANDS, Alexander Blacksmith
(About 1785-1841)
SCOTT, Isabel
NISBET, William
(About 1819-)
NISBET, Alexander Sandilands (DNA Linked)


Family Links

1. HAIMES, Isabella (DNA Linked)

NISBET, Alexander Sandilands (DNA Linked) 2

  • Born: 1839, Edinburgh Parish, Edinburgh, Scotland 3
  • Marriage (1): HAIMES, Isabella (DNA Linked) on 10 June 1859 in Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland 1
  • Died: 13 June 1890 at 5.15 am, 5 Brown Street, Edinburgh, Scotland

   Cause of his death was diabetes mellitus and apoplexy over 4 days.

   Other names for Alexander were NISBET, Alex. S.,2 NISBET, Alex. Sandilands,4 NISBET, Alexander,5 6 7 8 NISBET, Alexander S.,1 NISBET, Alexr.,7 8 NISBET, Henry 9 and SANDILANDS, Alexander.10

  General Notes:

No birth or baptism document has as yet been found for Alexander Nisbet. His year and place of birth stated here are based of information from census entries in which he featured. In every census in which he was recorded, except that of 1851, Alexander's age was noted ending in a '2': 1841 aged 2 years, 1851 aged 11 years, 1861 aged 22 years, 1871 aged 32 years, 1881 aged 42 years. Each census in turn recorded his birthplace as Edinburgh, except that of 1841, which recorded a 'Yes', that is: that he was born in Midlothian. The 1881 census recorded his place of birth as 'Edinburghshire City Parish'.

The 1841 census for 6 Newport Street Edinburgh recorded an Alexander Nisbet aged 2 years, born in Midlothian, living with a family called Sandilands. The eldest member of this family was Isabella Sandilands, aged in the 55-59 years age group. Of the others four were males and one a female, ranging in age from 13 to the 25-29 years age group. The young man placed first in the census entry, as for the head of the household, was James Sandilands. He was in the 25-29 years age group and was a journeyman smith by trade. He and everyone else in the household except his (probable) mother, Isabella Sandilands, the 55-59 year old, had been born in Midlothian. From later information, it is very likely that the infant Alexander Nisbet, was living with his grandmother, and Sandilands aunt and uncles.

The census of 1851 for the parish of Greenside, Edinburgh recorded 'Alexander Sandilands' [sic], aged 11 years, living with his mother Isabella Haddon and his stepfather Robert Haddon at 218 Greenside Place. Alexander was recorded as a scholar and as born in Edinburgh.

In the summer of 1859, Alexander Sandilands married, in a Church of Scotland ceremony in Haddington, Isabella Haimes, a young woman of the same age as himself.

'Alex. Sandilands Nisbet' was the signature of the informant of his son William's birth at Newtonport, Haddington in 1860. He was able to sign his name before the registrar. His occupation was recorded as 'moulder'. This could well be an indication that, though we are referring to him always here as 'Alexander Nisbet', he may have called himself, and been called 'Alex. Nisbet', or it may be a simple abbreviation.

The 1861 census for Haddington, East Lothian, recorded Alexander Nisbet living there with his wife, Isabella, and their baby son, William, in Market Street. Alexander was head of the household, and aged 22 years. He was a moulder by occupation. His birthplace was noted as Edinburgh.

In 1871 Alexander Nisbet, his wife and their five children ranging in age from one year to ten years, were recorded by the census for St Giles (High Church) district in Edinburgh, living at 1 Milne Square in a dwelling where only one room was windowed. Alexander, born in Edinburgh, was aged 32 years, and was an ironfounder by occupation. Like their father, the three younger children were born in Edinburgh; the others, like their mother, were born in Haddington. The division suggests that the family moved to Edinburgh around 1865.

Alexander Nisbet's daughter, Isabella Sandilands Nisbet, named for his mother, was born in 1875. Alexander, who had been present where the birth occurred, gave notice of her birth at Edinburgh on 24 March 1875 before the registrar, John Minto. He gave his occupation as iron moulder, and his date and place of marriage as 10 June 1859 at Haddington. He gave the same information before the same registrar when giving notice of his son, John's, birth on 7 December 1876.

Richard Nisbet died in 1877 at the age of six years. Alexander, who had been present where the death occurred, gave notice of the boy's death on 30 August 1877. Alexander was recorded as an iron moulder by trade.

Jane Deans Nisbet, Alexander Nisbet's youngest daughter, named for his sister in law Jane Deans Haimes, wife of his wife's brother, George, was born in 1879. Alexander, who had been present where the birth occurred, gave notice of her birth at Edinburgh on 30 May 1879 before the registrar, D. R. Brown. His occupation was noted as iron moulder, and the date and place of his marriage as 10 June 1859 at Haddington.

William Nisbet, Alexander's eldest son, married in 1880. According to his son's marriage certificate, Alexander Nisbet was an 'Ironmonger (journeyman)'.

In 1881 the census recorded the Nisbet family living at 5 Brown Street, Edinburgh, next door to William Jenkinson, a printer pressman, and his large family. Their dwelling had four windowed rooms. Alexander's family was itself fairly large: with him and his wife lived five sons and three daughters, only two of whom, George and Robert, were of working age. Alexander, Elenora, Andrew and Isabella were all at school. John and Jane were 4 years old and 1 year old respectively. One son, Richard, had died in 1877 at the age of 6 years, and the eldest, William, had just recently married. Another child to be called Richard would be born in 1883. Alexander himself was recorded as 42 years of age. His birthplace was noted, in slightly more detail than usual, as 'Edinburghshire City Parish'. By occupation he was, as he had been for more than twenty years, a moulder. This was the last national census Alexander Nisbet was to feature in.

At the time of his son, William's, second marriage in 1886, William's marriage certificate recorded his father, Alexander Nisbet, as an ironmoulder, as did his sister Eleanor Nisbet's marriage certificate in 1889.

Alexander's son Alexander married in 1887. Alexr. snr was recorded as an iron moulder by trade.

Alexander Nisbet died in June 1890. His death certificate recorded that he was an 'iron moulder married to Isabella Haimes'. His recorded age at death was 50 years. Both of his parents were themselves deceased.

In 1902 when his daughter Ina (Isabella) married, Alexander Nisbet was recorded in her marriage certificate as an iron moulder (deceased). This description was also used of him in the 1911 marriage certificate of his daughter, Jeannie or Jane, in the 1915 death certificate of his son, William, in the 1936 death certificate of his son, John, in the 1939 death certificate of his son, Alexander, in the 1941 death certificate of his daughter (Alexandrina) Isabella, and in the 1945 death certificate of his son Andrew.

In the 1921 death certificate of his daughter, Eleanor, Alexander Nisbet was misnamed as 'Henry Nisbet, ploughman'. The informant was Eleanor's son, John McKeen.

Robert Nisbet, Alexander's third son, died in 1952. In his death certificate Robert's father, Alexander, was recorded as an iron founder.

In the death certificate of his youngest child, Jane, in 1971, Alexander Nisbet was recorded as an iron moulder. 3 4 6 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

  Research Notes:


According to Old Occupations in Scotland an Iron Moulder was an Iron foundry worker who poured molten iron from furnace into moulds. Iron foundries were found across industrial Scotland in the 19th century, wherever there was an economical source of iron, of fuel, and of labour. Iron products were in great demand, whether as part of a larger structure or as items in themselves. Balconies, bus shelters, baths, balustrades, railings, trams, drinking fountains, drainpipes, gates, manhole covers, street lamps, urinals, ornamental brackets and sculpture reliefs, the list can go on and on, so many uses were found for the qualities of iron.

Foundry workers did not dress up for the occasion: wearing bunnets, jackets or waistcoats, some times wearing aprons or clogs when appropriate, and with their sleeves rolled up, they applied themselves to a demanding and onerous task. The Scran web site, at, where the following information can be found, contains a wealth of photographs of places and people involved in the foundry process.

Moulds were used during the casting process, to contain and shape the molten iron. The air would be filled with smoke from the castings.
"A mould was generally created by, first, making a 'pattern': a replica of the item to be cast made from wood or metal. The pattern would be used to create an imprint in two sand moulds, one for each half of the desired casting. The pattern removed, the two halves would be joined and molten iron poured into the mould. Once cooled, the mould would be broken away to reveal the casting. This would then be taken to the finishing shop where rough edges and blemishes would be removed."

"Large-scale production of finished cast-iron goods began in Scotland in 1759, with the establishment of the Carron Company's famous works at Stenhousemuir, near Falkirk. During the first half of the nineteenth century many specialist foundries were opened, culminating in the establishment of Walter Macfarlane's Saracen Foundry, Glasgow, in 1850, which became noted for its architectural castings, such as lamp standards, bandstands and building fronts." By the opening years of the 20th century, iron moulding was moving towards decline.

ŠEast Lothian Council, Library Service. Licensor

  Medical Notes:

James Simpson MD certified the causes of Alexander's death.

Robert Nisbet, Alexander's son, who had been present where his father's death occurred, gave notice of the death before R. W. Charlton, registrar, at Edinburgh on 13 June 1890.

Alexander married Isabella HAIMES (DNA Linked), daughter of George HAIMES Hairdresser, DNA Linked and Helen TAIT (DNA Linked), on 10 June 1859 in Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland.1 (Isabella HAIMES (DNA Linked) was born about 1840 in Haddington, East Lothian, Scotland 23 and died 10 December 1890 at 5.00 pm in 5 Brown Street, Edinburgh, Scotland.). The cause of her death was pneumonia over 3 months.

  Marriage Notes:

Alexander S. Nisbet, a 20 year old bachelor, of Haddington, married Isabella Hames also unmarried, aged 20 years, and of Haddington, before John Cook DD, minister of Haddington, after banns, according to the forms of the Church of Scotland. The witnesses to the marriage were named in the certificate, but the names were unclear. They may be H. Whitelaw and Rich. Borthwick. Alexander was a moulder by trade.

The marriage was registered at Haddington parish in the county of Haddington on 13 June 1859, Thomas Henderson acting registrar. 1


1 GRO Scotland, Marriage certificate RDS 709 No 21 Haddington 1859.

2 GRO Scotland, Haddington East Lothian Births 1862.

3 various, email Irene Hall 4 February 2007.

4 GRO Scotland, Births Haddington 1860 no 79.

5 GRO Scotland, Marriage certificate Edinburgh/Inveresk 1880 July 16/son William.

6 GRO Scotland, Newington district Edinburgh Marriages 1887.

7 GRO Scotland, St Giles Edinburgh Births 1869.

8 GRO Scotland, Edinburgh Newington Births 1873.

9 GRO Scotland, Deaths Dalry and Gorgie Edinburgh 1921 no 221.

10 1851 UK census, Edinburgh Greenside 685/01 en d 188/01 page 1.

11 GRO Scotland, Marriage certificate Edinburgh/Inveresk 1880 July 16/William son.

12 GRO Scotland, Deaths Uphall 672 no 73 1952.

13 GRO Scotland, Deaths Newington Edinburgh 685/5 no 623 1877.

14 GRO Scotland, Births Newington 685/5 no 680 1879.

15 GRO Scotland, Births Newington 685/5 no 1441 1876.

16 GRO Scotland, Deaths Falkirk 479 no 326 1971.

17 GRO Scotland, Deaths Leith 685/9 no 361 1936.

18 GRO Scotland, DeathsEdinburgh George Square 685 no 1628 1939.

19 GRO Scotland, Marriages 1911 Falkirk Stirlingshire no 215.

20 GRO Scotland, Marriages 1902 St Giles Edinburgh 1902 no 480.

21 GRO Scotland, Deaths Leith Edinburgh 1941 no 95.

22 GRO Scotland, Marriages Newington Edinburgh 1889 no 254.

23 1851 UK census, Haddington East Lothian 709 en d 9 page 15.

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